October 15, 2018     

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
TopPrincipal's Message

And just like that, the 2018-19 school year is 25% complete.  Back to School Night, Homecoming, College Day and the PSATs -- all behind us.  First quarter grades will be issued within the next week. Whew!

Quarter grades are essentially, of course, a progress report.  Official high school transcripts contain only semester grades, which are used to calculate cumulative GPA and (with the exception of PE and 9th Grade Life Skills) count towards graduation.
Even with 9 weeks to turn it around, a low grade can be a source of anxiety for many students and their families.  Though we always encourage students to advocate on their own behalf, counselors and administrators receive the majority of our calls from parents about grades this time of year.  We are fortunate to have so many families who play an active role in their child's education.  Sequoia wouldn't be the school it is without such support and engagement.
There is a protocol for inquiring about a grade or a class if the dialogue between teacher and student hits a snag.  Please follow these steps:
1) Speak with or email the teacher first.
2) Speak with or email the department chair if the concern persists.
3) Speak with Instructional Vice Principal Kristin Stout from there.  I will also be involved if an issue reaches this point.
In my experience, the overwhelming majority of questions/concerns about what's happening with a grade or in a class resolve themselves when parents and teachers communicate directly.  Sequoia strives to maintain a strong sense of partnership between teachers and parents.  Although our team of administrators wants nothing more but to help resolve problems that come our way, there are 2150 students and 4 of us.  From a practical standpoint, communicating directly with the teacher is the most efficient way to have a question or concern addressed.
As to the concern that speaking with a teacher (whether student or parent) will adversely impact the student's treatment in the class?  Sequoia's teachers are professionals.  They understand how miscommunication happens and how reasonable people sometimes disagree.  We want our students to be self-advocates and are sympathetic to the fact that a difficult conversation with an adult is a test of mettle.  We may lead with empathy, but as an equity-focused school, grades are based on student performance and not subjective personality tests.
For many Sequoia teachers across departments, student grades are tied directly to how well students demonstrate, via assessment, mastery of a norm-referenced set of skills/standards.  Make-up opportunities may be available for students to revisit these skills/standards.   Likewise, mastery of many "key" skills/standards are assessed in multiple ways throughout the year.  In other words, grades are determined by how much the student has learned while deadlines, performance on-demand, and subjective measures such as "participation" are de-emphasized.  This is an approach called Standards-based Grading which in practice, means fewer conversations about "How many points is this quiz worth?" or "Can I get extra credit?"  Instead, it embodies conversations about the content and skills the course is designed to teach.  Exciting stuff!

Congrats to all on a positive and productive first quarter -- have a great week!
2018 PTSA Fall Mini-Grant Recipients Announced
The PTSA Mini-Grants program received nearly 40 applications this fall.  Requests covered a wonderful range of creative projects - from yoga bolsters to a bass drum, thought-provoking classroom posters to an iPad which will live-stream to smart boards and allow teachers to pre-record lessons.  For a complete list of grants awarded, please click here.
Many thanks to Mini-Grants committee members Shannon Chi, Caitlin Schneider, Betsy Parkhurst, Glenn Bugos, Laura Downs, Stacy Huisman, Karen Latina, and Meg Fitzpatrick for your time and thoughtful reflection on the applications.
Sequoia Freshmen Tour Nearby Colleges   
Sequoia Freshmen at SFSU
Last Thursday, roughly 470 Sequoia Freshmen participated in our annual College Day.  The purpose of College Day is to give students the opportunity to step on a college campus and experience a college environment first-hand.  According to Hoxira Castaneda, Sequoia's College Day Organizer, students should think of this visit as an experience that can change their futures!  Many of the students had not had the opportunity of visiting a college campus before, and the aim is to have students seeing themselves attending a 4-year college as a real possibility.  Students participated in guided tours and enjoyed lunch in the various school cafeterias.

This year's students went to one of 9 nearby universities: University of the Pacific, UC Berkeley, CSU East Bay, SF State University, Dominican University of California, St. Marys, Santa Clara, San Jose State, and UC Santa Cruz.
Thanks to Ms. Castaneda for organizing another successful College Day and to SHSEF for funding this opportunity!
Back to top
Seniors: Portrait and Baby Photo Deadline is October 31 
Seniors who have not taken their portraits yet, please call Prestige Portraits today and get an appointment ASAP.  The phone number is 650-597-1433.  If your appointment is after October 31, email Ms. Bray at and let her know right away.
Senior baby pictures should be e-mailed to by Halloween, October 31.
Back to top
Sequoia Class Receives Volunteer of the Year Award  
Award Trophy 
Aline Kaprive's Special Ed. class received a "Volunteer of the Year" award at the Move It Forward / LifeMoves 2018 Benefit Breakfast on September 27.  Her students came up with the idea of helping the homeless and created projects to support residents at a shelter, and raise awareness of homelessness.  In collaboration with the Vendome shelter in San Mateo, students raised funds to create tailored care packages ready for street distribution.  They voted for a design to decorate the bags and chose an image of hands reached out to help.   
In the spirit of community, students also created Jackson Pollock-inspired paintings now adorning the Vendome.  In the spirit of friendship, they made bracelets which are now worn by Vendome staff and tenants.  Students hope to have a campus-wide rally to raise awareness and sell unique wristbands emblazoned with the message of optimism, "H.O.P.E. - Hold On the Pain will End." 
A GoFundMe page to support the projects can be found HERE.  
Congratulations to Ms. Kaprive and her students for receiving this prestigious award and for all the wonderful work they have been doing in our broader community.
Back to top
Attention IB and College Bound Families!   
How can you get information about the ICAP and IB Programs?  What are you and your student suppose to be doing each year to prepare for the college application process?  Get these questions answered and many more at the IB College Grade Level Meetings presented by the College Advisor, Teresa Ignaitis, and the IB Coordinator, Lisa McCahon.  All students wanting to attend a four year university and/or interested in or taking an IB course should attend with their parents/guardians.  All grade-level meetings are held at 6 :00 p.m. in Carrington Hall .  
A separate meeting in Spanish will be held for parents at the same time in the College Career Center.  All students should attend the English meeting in Carrington Hall.
  • 10th Grade: October 17
  • 9th Grade: October 24
These meetings are the main way Sequoia disseminates information about college and IB to families.  We look forward to seeing you all there! For more information, contact: 
Lisa McCahon (
IB Coordinator
650-369-1411 Ext.#63103 
Can You Resist This Adorable Reindeer Pair?
It's time to order your holiday evergreens from Sequoia.  The holidays may seem far off, but they'll be here before you know it!  Our order deadline is November 2, 2018 , so purchase Sequoia High School Evergreen items now!  Sales will support the Sophomore Class of 2021 Safe & Sober Graduation activities. 

We are offering beautiful and fragrant wreaths, garlands, and centerpieces for $20-25 each.  Plus, back by popular demand, an adorable decorative set of two reindeer for $20.  They will be available for pick-up during the first week of December.
This link will take you directly to our product and ordering page.  Payments can be made through PayPal or credit/debit card.

Thank you for your support!  Please contact Katie Hultgren at or Caitlin Schneider at with any questions.
A Few More Weeks Till Deadline for Reflections 2018-19: Heroes Around Me 
Give Voice to the Artist in You! 
Don't ignore your inner artist!  It's time to start working on your Reflections project for this year's Reflections theme, Heroes Around Me; tema,roes a mi alrededor.
Enter your artwork and reflection about its meaning to you in one of six categories:
- Dance Choreography
- Film Production
- Literature
- Music Composition
- Photography
- Visual Arts
All entries will be recognized for their artistic achievement--participation itself is a meaningful contribution to the Sequoia community!  First-place finishers in each category enter the district competition.  District winners move on to the state, and winners there ultimately compete at the national level.
Be sure to review the rules on the Reflections page of the PTSA website HERE.  
Due date is Monday, November 5, 2018 at 3 p.m. in the Attendance Office
Questions: Contact Viki Young, Reflections 2018-19 Chair at
Tickets ON SALE NOW for The Drowsy Chaperone - Don't Miss the Fun!
What's more fun than a musical? How about a musical about a musical?  
What's more fun than a wedding? How about four?
And what's more fun than 1920s prohibition? Well, that's easy! Spit takes and a "drowsy" chaperone, of course!  
Step inside the apartment of a Broadway enthusiast whose vision of his favorite musical comes to life on stage before us. This hilarious, toe-tapping musical will leave you humming along and wishing for another evening with these lively wedding guests. 
Performances for Sequoia's production of " The Drowsy Chaperone" are:
November 10, 16, & 17 at 7:00 p.m. 
November 11 at 3:00 p.m. 
November 17 at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets are available from the school treasurer, by phone 1.866.967-8167, or online at 
Gather Your Friends and Make Dreams Come True   
Mark your calendars for November 16, 2018 for Sequoia's 9th Annual Dream Club Dinner!  The dinner will be held in Gym 1 from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. 
Now's your chance to attend one of Sequoia's most inspirational events and support a worthy cause.  The Dream Club works to raise awareness about the challenges that undocumented students face as they pursue their dreams of higher education.  This dinner is our biggest fundraiser and all proceeds go to our scholarship fund.  Tickets are $15 regular admission or $125 for a table of eight.  Click here for flyer
In This Issue

Tuesday, October 16
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
ANGST Screening,
Carrington Hall
Register Here

Wednesday, October 17
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
IB 10th Grade Info Night,
Carrington Hall

Saturday, October 20
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Mock ACT,
Room 250

Tuesday, October 23
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Band and Orchestra Fall Concert - all are welcome,
Carrington Hall

Wednesday, October 24
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
IB 9th Grade Info Night,
Carrington Hall

Friday, November 2
JV - 4:30 p.m.
V - 7:30 p.m.
Football: Seq. vs. Carlmont,
Sequoia High School

Sunday, November 4
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
VIA Free Heart Screening,
Sequoia High School

Quick Links
 Sequoia High School Academy Mentor Program Starts This Week - Sign Up Now! 
Volunteer for Themed 2-Hour Sessions One Thursday a Month, November 2018 through May 2019
Please refer to our website for more information.
Or contact our coordinator Victoria Mitchell at if you have questions.
Stash Your Halloween Candy in a LOVE Bag!  
These bags are well-made, available in many different styles and great for gifts.  40% of each order placed goes directly to support our 2019 Safe & Sober Grad activities. 
Check out all the different styles and order at 
Remember to use
Promo Code
at checkout. 

A Cushion to Enhance Game Enjoyment!
Show your school spirit and enjoy watching your favorite Sequoia games on a comfortable stadium seat cushion.  They feature our Unaliyi logo and have an easy carrying handle.
This fundraiser benefits seniors during 2019 Safe & Sober Grad activities. 
You can purchase yours at home football games and online on our
Join the PTSA  Anytime!  
Visit the
and buy your 2018-19 PTSA membership today and contribute to Sequoia's Unaliyi spirit! 
Back to top
Sequoia Sentinel
If you have articles to submit to the Sentinel, please email the article/blurb by the end of the day on Thursday.  See Guidelines for news submissions. 
Find past issues of the Sentinel at  
En Español
¿Quieres traducir este boletín ahora? Siga estas instrucciones para obtener una traducción:
1. Haga clic en "Click here" en la parte superior del correo electrónico: "Having trouble viewing this email? Click here."
2. Mantenga presionada la tecla Control (PC) y la tecla A para seleccionar toda la página, a continuación, mantenga presionada la tecla Control y haga clic en la tecla C para copiar la página entera.
3. Abra una página nueva del navegador web y vaya a
4. Coloca el cursor en la caja y mantenga presionada la tecla Control y haga clic en la tecla V para pegar el boletín completo en el cuadro de traducción.
5. Asegúrese de seleccionar "To: Spanish" en la parte superior de la página. Haga clic en el botón Traducir. La traducción al español debe aparecer en el lado derecho.
Parent Education

Parent Ed Logo Horizontal

ANGSTANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety
Documentary Film + Panel Discussion  
Tuesday, October 16, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Sequoia High School
1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City, CA

Join us for special screenings of IndieFlix documentary, ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety, followed by a student panel. This is an opportunity for parents, students, and community members to hear from students about how anxiety impacts their lives. 
ANGST   features candid interviews with youth and young adults who suffer, or have suffered, from anxiety. The film includes discussions with mental health experts about the causes of anxiety and its sociological effects, as well as help, resources, and tools.
Parents, students (ages 10 and up), educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available. 
Presented by SUHSD Wellness Advisory Council (WAC) with support from Children's Health Council, Sequoia Healthcare District, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, SafeSpace, and The Parent Education Series.
* * * 
Ana Homayoun, author of Social Media Wellness
Social Media Wellness: Executive Functioning in the Age of Digital Media and Tech Distractions
Thursday, October 25, 2018, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Woodside High School, Multi-Use Room (MUR)
In our always-on digital world, it can be hard for teens - and adults! - to successfully navigate online and IRL worlds. In fact, the  latest Pew research  suggests that both parents and teens are struggling with managing distractions.
With empathy, compassion, and humor, noted Silicon Valley Ana Homayoun discusses how the digital balancing act affects all aspects of our lives and personal wellness, and impacts students' academic abilities and social well-being as well as emotional and physical health.
Woodside Parent Education Series sponsored by WHS PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
* * * 
Heidi Kasevich, PhD, founder, Quiet Schools Network
QUIET: Unlocking the Power of Introverts
Thursday, November 1, 2018, 7:00pm - 8:30pm 
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
In 2012, Susan Cain wrote a landmark book called "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking." Quiet Revolution ( was launched soon after, with a mission of unlocking the power of introverts for the benefit of us all.
All too often, quiet kids are shamed into feeling  less than  their extroverted peers, who are more likely to enjoy group work, crowded cafeterias, endless socializing, classroom discussions, and reward- motivated activities. When they discover that they fall on the introverted side of the spectrum, introverted students all too often lose confidence in their ability to lead.
Dr. Heidi Kasevich  is the founder of the Quiet Schools Network, a coalition of schools dedicated to the Quiet Revolution manifesto: "Quiet kids can and must be raised to know their strengths."
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! Free admission and light refreshments. Spanish interpretation will be available.
  * * *
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series.
Charlene Margot, M.A. | CSM Consulting
650.868.0590 |
Community News

Opportunity to Support Local Theater and Gain Community Service Credit

West Bay Opera is recruiting 9th - 12th grade student volunteer ushers for its upcoming production of one of the most popular of all operas, "La Boheme".
  • Volunteer role: Greet ticket holders, answer questions, and help them find their seats.
  • Training: Provided at the theater, immediately before the performance.
  • Service Dates/Times: 
    • Saturday October 20, 2018, 6:45 - 8:15 p.m. and/or
    • Sunday October 21, 2018, 12:45 - 2:15 p.m.

  • For more information: Please see attached flyer. Call (415-905-0286) or email West Bay Opera's Volunteer Manager Mr. Ron Susek ( ).

Do You Have a Student Receiving Special Ed. Services?   
The SUHSD Transition Services Team is offering you and your student some exciting events:

Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Mills High School, Millbrae 

It's that time of year again when the San Mateo Commission on Disabilities is planning their annual Transition to Independence  resource fair promoting independence and full participation of people with disabilities in San Mateo County.  

Last year, we were honored to host at Sequoia HS and you can s ee photos from last year's fair at Sequoia HS  here .  This year, we continue to collaborate with community agencies, other school districts in San Mateo and The County of San Mateo Commission on Disabilities to put together this event.
Students and their caregivers can explore resources, visit information tables, attend workshops, activities and demonstrations.  This is a great event for parents and students to access resources such as Department of Rehab, Colleges, Employment, Mental Health, Independent Living, Leisure and more, all in one space!!!

Free food, Free T-shirts, Free SWAG, Free shuttle from Millbrae CalTrain Station to Mills HS.  Quiet area will be available for those with sensory issues.

Recommended Audience: Open to the public

For questions or more info, contact:
Gail Oytas
650-369-1411, x22373
Transition Specialist and WorkAbility Coordinator 183-03 

VIAVIA Heart Project FREE Screening  
Sunday, November 04, 2018 
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Sequoia High School
1201 Brewster Avenue
Redwood City, CA 94062

We invite youth ages 12 to 25 to pre-register and attend.  The process usually takes 60 to 90 minutes and is valued at $500 to $4000.  VIA has been partnering with Bay Area schools to provide free heart screenings to youth for 5 years and this will be the 3rd event in the Sequoia Union High School District.  School affiliation does not matter and no SSN or documentation is required to be eligible for this service but guardian permission is required.  Thanks to our donors, sponsors, and volunteers, screenings are conducted free of charge.  Although no payment is required, donations are appreciated and will allow us to continue screening more teens.  
"Approximately 5,000 to 10,000 youths die from sudden cardiac arrest each year in the U.S.  Most of these deaths are due to undetected heart conditions, many of which could have been identified with a simple cardiac screening.  Screening your child may save their life." 
Facts from VIA:
  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) leads to death in minutes if the person does not get help right away. 
  • SCA is the leading cause of death in the U.S., taking the lives of 356,000 people annually.
  • SCA is the #1 killer of student athletes and contributes to the #2 medical cause of death among youth under age 25.
  • The only one that can be prevented through primary and secondary prevention strategies such as Teen Heart Screenings
  • One in 300 youth have a heart condition that puts them at risk.
  • Approximately 1 out of every 200 youth screened typically require follow up care.